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“For it seems to me that the gods exercised especially acute discernment in establishing the particular pairing which is called male and female, to ensure that such a pair may form a perfect partnership in mutual service.” Xenophon

Xenophon does not say that in marriage man and woman always form a perfect partnership. He says that by divine arrangement, marriage may become a perfect partnership. While acute divine discernment established the natural plan of this partnership, an acute human discernment is required in order to discover it, live it, and bring it to perfection. And more than discernment is needed. Perfect partnership in marriage calls for mutual service, at a pitch most of us have not thought possible. Xenophon appreciates with gratitude how divine foresight has arranged a partnership that is greater than the sum of its parts, and whose perfection, though demanding, is a wonder to behold.

 

Xenophon (430-354 B.C.) was a soldier, historian, and philosopher of Athens. Like Plato he wrote dialogues featuring Socrates as a great teacher. Among these dialogues is Oeconomicus, translated as The Estate Manager, in which we get insight into the structure and principles of the ancient household.

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